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Thread: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Default Re: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    Hello, y'all!

    Interesting topic... one question that I'm sure has been pondered for some time but now due to the world wide web the answer is just at your fingertips.

    A chemical toilet is pretty much standard equipment for US bombers B-17, B-24, and B-29. To quote the B-17F "Erection and Maintenance" manual, under miscellaneous equipment: "A chemical type toilet with disposable container is installed in the rear fuselage compartment adjacent to the main entrance door."

    I've read that US bomber crews were well fed, but I imagine stress, fear, and nervousness probably did a good job of making airborne commode use an infrequent operation during combat missions.

    In case anyone is interested, here is a link to the B-17F Erection and Maintenance manual in PDF: http://b17panels.com/id23.html

    Russ
    FAA Airman
    Proud son of Rose and Wes

  2. #17
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    Over the Xmas period I was in a library thumbing through a book of WWII reminiscences. There was a reminscence by a US bomber (can't recall which type) crew member where he expressed the disgust all crew members apparently felt for using the toilet in flight, not least because if the aircraft was tossed around the receptacle invariably tipped over and at best caused a huge stink and at worst covered come crew members with its contents. The thing is, he referred to it as an 'empty ammo can'. Maybe the crews put a makeshift one up forward because the installed one near the entry door took them too far away from their posts?
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  3. #18
    colonel hogan Guest

    Default Re: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    i heard somewhere that b17s had an onboard craper. is that true?

  4. #19
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    Quote Originally Posted by colonel hogan View Post
    i heard somewhere that b17s had an onboard craper. is that true?
    Yes, and full details are provided in the post two above yours.

    Reviewing your recent posts, I have come to the conclusion that you are in fact a troll in the mould of Aly J (although most likely not the same person as the IP addresses are different and of a type unlikely to be spoofed).
    Consider this your final warning before you take another extended holiday from this forum. I consider it frankly impossible for anyone to be as stupid as you pretend to be and still be capable of using the internet. Hence, what you are doing is purely and simply trolling, and will not be tolerated.
    I have neither the time nor the inclination to differentiate between the incompetent and the merely unfortunate - Curtis E LeMay

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    287

    Default Re: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    Anyone still curious about the original question might wish to read Black Thursday, I believe the one by Martin Caidin (there can't be too many books with the same title!). The book is a detailed history of the costly US air raid on the ball-bearings plants in Schweinfurt. Somewhere therein, the author describes the potty issue, and I could look it up if the interest remains.

    As I recall, everybody relieved themselves immediately before boarding, and there were no "facilities" on the B-17s. Cabins were neither heated or pressurized. Flight crews wore various layers of protective clothing against the cold; IIRC, above a certain altitude, bare skin would freeze almost instantly. And once in the combat zone, no one dared leave their post even momentarily: everybody's lives were at risk. Again, IIRC, if you really needed to go, you went - in your pants. I believe there was some discussion of hypothermia and other health risks resulting from such: even with all the clothing, the urine might freeze. Given the nature of combat and such dangers, I would think every airmen would try to limit fluid consumption during and just before flights.
    "...we have met the enemy and he is us." -- Pogo (Walt Kelly)

  6. #21
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    Default Re: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    My mathematics teacher at Highschool had been a navigator in and RAF Lancaster Bomber, during WW2.
    He was once asked the same question about answering nature's call at altitude. His reply was that while it was possible to make use of the "Elsan" chemical commode while airborne, most crew went to great lengths to avoid the process, as it was an experience few ever wished to repeat. He added, that for all the sophistication of the B17 or B24 as compared to the Lancaster, US aircrews were of the same opinion as their RAF counterparts, regarding the inconveniences of nature whilst airborne on a mission.


    Regards, Uyraell.

  7. #22
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    Default Re: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    So what did the Japanese and Germans have?
    The fundamental problem of Democracy is that the majority of voters are idiots fueled by uninformed rage - and the Politicians do everything to cater to them.

  8. #23
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    German Mars Colony "Valhalla"
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    Default Re: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    .....in a videogame, there was a crapper on the G4 betty but thats a bad source.

  9. #24
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    Default Re: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    Since the Japanese and Russians had domestic copies of the DC2, and early DC3, I'd think they'd have adapted the commode from that, at least as regards bomber-sized aircraft. I'd think it logical that the Germans would simply have duplicated whatever arrangement existed in the Junkers 52 series.
    Regarding single seat aircraft, any of the combatant nations in WW2 would have had recourse to the same methods: urination via the "relief tube", and defecation unlikely to occur during a flight.

    Regards, Uyraell.

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